(eTN) – Information was received over the Easter weekend that the World Bank has reportedly agreed with the Kenya government to extend a soft loan of up to 25 billion Kenya shillings (US$297.6 million) to co-finance two crucial infrastructural projects. One, important to tourism, is the modernization and likely expansion of the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, the main entry gate for hundreds of thousands of sun and fun seeking holiday makers from Europe, arriving on charter flights from key gateways across Britain and the European mainland. This alone will be welcome news to the tourism sectors stakeholders, as alongside this project the new highway linking the airport with the South Coast of Mombasa is also due to go ahead.
Further inland though a second key project, also with likely impact on tourism, but more so on trade in this case, is to be financed with the loan. The road between Kitale and the border to the South Sudan is to be upgraded, aimed to make direct traffic from Kenya to South Sudan a reality without having to travel via Uganda, the most efficient route at present. Once the road from Kitale to the Kenya/South Sudan border has been completed, and the link from there to Juba via other important towns in South Sudan also been upgraded, traveling time will be cut into less than half compared to present circumstances. This road connection can conceivably also be used then to transport safari clients to the attractive and little explored game parks in Southern Sudan, where 6 national parks and over a dozen game reserves have been set aside for wildlife and nature conservation.
South Sudan, upon attaining independence on July 9 this year, is expected to make immediate efforts to become a member state of the East African Community, which when it becomes a reality, will make travel across a unified region even more attractive for tourists seeking to explore the great wildernesses of our region. Expect regular updates on these developments and progress on the projects right here.